Beloved ‘Boheme’ broadcast live in HD from Metropolitan Opera to Douglass Theatre

April 4, 2014 

Anita Hartig makes her Metropolitan Opera debut as Mimi and Vittorio Grigolo plays Rodolfo in Puccini’s “La Boheme” last month.

MARTY SOHL — Metropolitan Opera

Next up in the Douglass Theatre’s Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast series is Puccini’s “La Boheme,” one of the best-loved operas in the entire repertoire and the most performed in the history of the Met. Is is being broadcast at 12:55 p.m. Saturday.

Those who are familiar with the Broadway hit “Rent” are also familiar with “La Boheme,” although they may not realize it. Take Puccini’s material and transfer it to New York during the early days of the AIDS epidemic and you have “Rent.”

Puccini’s work itself is based on a novel by Henri Murger, depicting the lives of impoverished young artists and poets in the Latin Quarter of Paris. While there is considerable humor in this tale -- perhaps the result of the young bohemians’ valiant efforts to remain cheerful -- it is at heart a tragic love story, one of the most affecting in all of operatic literature.

In this production, Anita Hartig stars as the frail Mimi, who battles what was then known as “consumption.”

The tone of the story is established in the opening scenes of the opera when the painter Marcello and the poet Rodolfo (Vittorio Grigolo) are seen in their garret burning pages from Rudolfo’s manuscript in an effort to keep warm. Following some comic business with the landlord about the rent, Marcello and his other roommates leave for a café, while Rodolfo remains behind to write. Fate intervenes when Mimi, who lives nearby, appears at the door after her candle has blown out. Inevitably, the pair fall in love.

The remainder of the opera deals with the lives and loves of this group of friends in the face of various adversities. This being an opera, in the end, (spoiler alert), of course, frail Mimi must die and Rodolfo must grieve, but there’s some terrific music in the interval.

This classic tale of love and loss is sung in Italian, with English titles. The celebrated Franco Zeffirelli is the set designer.

“La Boheme”

When: 12:55 p.m. April 5

Where: Douglass Theatre, 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Cost: $24 adults, $20 seniors

Information: www.metopera.org/hdlive, 478-742-2000

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